Words by S, 3.5

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“Those are European starlings.”
S: “Hi airplane starlings!”
*seagulls “laughing”*
S: “Are they laughing because S said something funny?”

“I’m going to go pray.”
“What are you going to pray about?”
“About Ellie knocking down my blocks.”

“My name is Fat Girl.”

“When my Papa turns into my wife I’ll be a bride someday.”

“I’m going to cut my knife with the onion.”
E: “Your sin leaves a stain, but God washes it away because Jesus died.”
S: “And mommy dried it. No, God dried it.”

“Last night Ellie stood up in her crib and I said ‘lie down Ellie’ and sang ‘Goodnight my Angel’ and ‘Sleepy Eyes.’”

“I forgot to play in the concert!”
“What were you going to play?”
“Toys.”

“Floggic means play,and dance, and read.”

“I’m lying down like Claude Monet.”

“Sometimes the bananas are sad and I eat them and they feel better.”

“When we get back from church my Nutcracker will be alive.”

“This is Ellie’s papa and this is Ellie’s mommy. My mommy and papa are in India.”

“I’m filling up my toe with grace.”

“I love these songs.”
“Why do you love these songs?”
“Because that’s how God made me, to love these songs.”

“My favorite dog is a panda bear.”

“The sugarplum fairy’s name is scotcheroo.”

“Can you put Ellie outside with me like a friend?”

“Maybe my knees fell or something while I was ice skating.”

“I will be a cow-grown-up.” (not a cowgirl)

“I feel like another woman. It feels glorlious. I like being beautiful.”

“I have no shoes on cuz I’m wearing feet!”

E: Am I handsome?
S: No, you’re pretty
E: How can I be handsome?
S: To be a man
E: What can I do to be handsome?
S: Have a face
E: Is this a good face?
S: Yes.
E: So am I handsome?
S: No, you’re pretty

“You’re a good cooker.” (To mommy after eating airplane food).

“The heater is glorifying my life.”

“Peter Rabbit steals Mr. McGregor’s garden, and the squirrels steal ours. Please, squirrels, let our seeds grow.”

“You have a lobely voice, mommy.” A moment later, “I can’t hear you.”

“Papa, why did I eat all the prunes?”

“I have a pretty/flower dress! I’m learning to do ballet and princess things.” – to total strangers in Canada.

“I want to stay in Japan – what is it, mommy? Canada. I want to stay in Canada forever.” (Because of eating out)

“I’m going to school on my bike. I’m going to earn some money so we can do things.”

“I’m walking backwards because I’m sad.”

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To Many Mothers

Without a doubt, the most formative mother in my life was my own. She taught me to read and learn, filled my imagination with stories, calmly disciplined me, and poured into my spiritual and emotional life, discipling me to love God and live as a woman who followed Him, not only through the books we read and conversations we had, but by her own example. As I take classes at a seminary, I am realizing how much grounding I have in scripture, theology, reading, and writing has come from her and my father.
As I hear other women talk about their mothers and the ways their mothers’ examples influenced them, I am even more thankful than ever for my mother. She is industrious, even-tempered, and has always demonstrated moderation in food and exercise and a healthy perspective on looks and body image.

I’ve also thought a lot in the last year about all of the other mothers that have greatly influenced my life, both as a person and as a mother.
Nine in particular stand out to me: four that let me come into their homes to help with their children or just hang out with them and see the “real thing” of life with young kids, and four whose children are my age and who “mothered” me when my own mother was far away or when I needed the input of more mentors.

A.W., L.W., S.M. and M.Y. – thank you for welcoming me into “real” spaces without a facade, answering my curious questions, trusting me with your children, and being open and honest about the daily struggles of sibling rivalry, discipline, baby sleep, homeschooling, time management, etc. and the hope and strength found in Christ. There have been many times I have thought “oh, so that’s what she meant by…” or “This is like when…” – the things I watched and partook of as a young adult shaped me in ways I didn’t even know then.
And the fifth of these is my very own sister, Cait, who I have learned so much from by example and conversation, in the realities of her life and in her hopes and dreams for her mothering.

Mrs. M, Mrs. C, Mrs. R, and Mama Dunn – thank you for taking care of my physical and spiritual well-being, letting me ask you hard questions, being willing to ask hard questions of me, and pointing me to God and His Word before all else. With all the moves we’ve had in the last few years, it’s reassuring to know that even when we are new somewhere, I have constant mentors I can turn to as we settle in to new places.

Motherhood is overwhelming and confusing enough even with the input of all of these women, and I am so thankful I have their wisdom to apply in my daily life with S & Ellie. Mothering them is truly a formative and worthy life, and a privilege I often can’t believe I’ve been given.

2018: April

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We ended March and started April with a visit from Hannah and her husband.
It’s always hard to say goodbye, even harder when you don’t know when you’ll see each other again. But it’s been amazing to see how God has always provided opportunities for time together in the last 4.5 years when we haven’t lived in the same city, much less the same country for much of it.
Not only that, but to have a one-on-one afternoon exploring Seattle and enjoying a lovely evening at Luke’s chorale concert, and then to have three days of being all together with husbands and our girls was just incredible.
Here’s to many more days, weeks, and months of laughter, food, crafting, games, and encouraging one another where God has us.

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Inspired by the Great British Baking Show we tried a hot water crust pie.

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We had a trip for my class and preparation for our move. This is one of the places we love to walk there!

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I started working some on a tshirt quilt, and made tshirt yarn with the scraps (and stuffed the cushion with the rest of the scraps).

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Learning to darn – the girls wear through so many clothes!

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warm enough to workout outside

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I brought henna back from Dubai and she wanted me to do some on her. It was very hard for her but she sat very still!

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We’ve had more days of sunshine and took advantage of one sunny day for a hike.
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But with all the rain still there was a lot of mud!

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Ellie has wanted to sleep of a pillow so I pulled out this pillow that I believe belonged to my dad. The lighter blue cover is the original, but my maternal grandmother managed to copy it for me a while ago – and made a plain gingham cover that we use on it for Ellie.
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The last few days of April I think we finally turned the corner into full Spring. Sunshine, blossoms, not just glimpses but everywhere. I am starting to wonder if I do have S.A.D., since I feel like a different person when the sun is shining, most clearly seen in how easily I get overwhelmed. If the weather was just a little warmer, I think Spring would be my favorite season, seeing everything come ALIVE again.
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making our own choffy.

We’ve traveled a LOT lately but most of it has been to see other people, so we took a short family trip to Vancouver, Canada.
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We enjoyed Granville Island and Stanley Park, then drove over to Fort Langley.
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We are definitely not city people, though, and while the time at our rental was restful, driving was not!
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Ellie enjoying our rental studio suite. We paid a little more than we could have so we could have a place for Ezra and I to hang out while the girls were sleeping and a kitchenette so we could cook our own breakfasts and bring snacks.
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For other meals, we really enjoyed Momo Sushi (first time we’ve been brave enough to eat sushi outside of Japan!), Meat & Bread, and a variety of places on Granville Island – poutine, perogies, gelato, hand pies…

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Fort Langley

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And thanks to a tip from a coworker of Ezra’s, we went to Walmart to buy cheaper maple syrup.

favorite recipes// freezing bread (after a bread slicer we bought turned out to be junk, we just freeze it whole and hope we eat the thawed bread fast enough) // Moroccan Fava Bean Soup (added 2T harissa)// choux pastry buttermilk crepes // rye cornmeal buttermilk muffins (can you guess what we had a lot of?!?) // blackberry ricotta and onion tart (just put it on pizza and used frozen berries) // gingersnap green smoothie (so refreshing, though not really that gingersnap-y) // using your crockpot as a smoker // berry cheesecake overnight oats // cheesy garlic popcorn (vegan) // hibiscus mint tea // crockpot chocolate steel cut oats //

best of online// the enduring effects of a parent’s daily chatter // A Disney Princess with an Abortion // Be Kind to Yourself (Andrew Peterson) // playdough // kitchen storage hacks (love the pegboard and CD rack) // what does it mean to find my hope in Christ? // protein cost comparison (I’d been thinking about doing this so love that someone else did it for me!) // balance with treats for kids // language learning at home // why we cringe at submit (submission as function VS as value) // 5 minute lace bow //

WORLD Magazine is always a great read; this issue was phenomenal. They addressed a number of current events but rather than focusing on all that is wrong, highlighted some of what is happening in response, with rebuilding after ISIS in Nineveh, changes in the police force in Camden, and recovery for women abducted by Boko Haram.

And an article from the next issue on Syria.
“The onlooking world has sat paralyzed three ways…. our hearts have grown cold. Tiny bodies gray-blue from chlorine gas no longer horrify us. Young women and girls raped and sold by ISIS don’t hold our attention. Can we not see their plan? Kill the men and end the ability of women to conceive and carry on anything approaching their own race. You do not have to be a Nazi with a lab to devise the 21st century’s barbaric eugenics. You do not have to be Hitler to with inattention incite “death-head formations.””

reading of late// Sit (Ellis) // The Pastor’s Wife (Furman) // Changes that Heal (Cloud) // The Insanity of God (Ripken) // A History of Children’s Books in 100 Books (Cave/Ayad) // snippets of Poirot Investigates (Christie) // Henry V // Philippians // finished Neptune’s Inferno with Ezra

thinking about// how I really haven’t viewed God as KIND in the last few years. But He is kind, not in a give-you-what-you-want sort of way, but a redemptive way // growing a lot through the mental and spiritual challenge of class and studying scripture more, also realizing more and more of how thorough my high school education was! // simplifying life in what we do and in my attitudes and by setting and owning boundaries, and by getting to sin’s root and not its fruits // my planning details is often a sign of worry // I don’t deserve or “earn” rest or help – they are gifts! // the balance of emptying myself for others but also making sure my soul is cared for and fully partaking in His fullness given to me //

what brings joy// SUNSHINE // BLOSSOMS // SPROUTS // BLUE SKIES // HIKING //

The Munchkins// keep us laughing. The day I’m writing this they were happily playing outside and then when I checked on them I found that they were dumping dirt on each other’s heads…

S used enormous properly in a sentence the other day. Ellie repeats everything and remembers full sentences sometimes and uses them correctly later.

writing// shared the text version of the 20 minute talk I gave for class on ApricotPie.

PPD, Psalm 73, and a Windy Walk

“No, wind! Go away!” is my three-year-old daughter’s response to the frequent gusts of wind on our winter walks. She cries and squirms while she shouts, exerting all of her energy in the hopes that something she does will have an effect. Ignoring my reminder that only God has control of the wind and my suggestion that she take shelter in the stroller’s sunshade, her protests continue until the gusts subside. Her behavior is both amusing and exasperating, but she is not the only one who acts in this manner.
After her younger sister was born, I sank into postpartum depression. I frequently begged God to “make it stop,” and erred by becoming angry when it did not. There were numerous other factors, but because of my protests, I, like my toddler, was blind to what my options were and what God gave in answer to my prayers. In the words of the Psalmist, I was senseless and ignorant in my bitterness, but God was still with me (Psalm 73:21-24).
While I felt angry and abandoned, God offered the helps of spiritual disciplines, sleep, and the support of friends and family. He did not remove the wind, but provided a shelter in the midst of it. At the same time, I had the choice to stop complaining and accept what He had given me. God did not send these trials to spite or harm me, but as a gift, to remove sin and purify my desires. Neither the wind nor the raging internal storm are out of His sovereign, loving hand. Thus, both my daughter and I can cease insisting on our own way and joyfully commit ourselves to His care.

{this was turned into a 3-minute talk for my class; you can listen to it here}

What We Read: 2018 First Quarter

Themes in my Reading
the power of story (You are What You Love, my class)
I am not God (Adrenaline and Stress, and Humble Roots and None Like Him from last year)
Changing life by changing desires, importance of spiritual disciplines (books on preaching, You are What you Love, 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You)
Thru preaching and parenting, teaching kids and listeners to love God with all heart, soul, mind, strength, emotion... actively and passively (You are What you Love, books on preaching)
slowing down, savoring, ruminating (Adrenaline and Stress, and being forced to do so by class and what I’m reading having direct application to my life more than it has in the past)

January
The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth – Genevieve Howland
I paged through this at the library, since I had heard about it and was interested in it but didn’t want to buy it as I’m not pregnant. Mostly I wanted to see how it compared to her free internet version.
There are more topics covered in smaller bites in the book, since online she can link to other articles. The to-do’s for each week are also slightly different. Overall, though, it’s mostly the same content and things to think about.
The negative: it feels rather temporal, lots of talk on things like babymoons, maternity style, etc. – space that would have been better spent talking about PPD signs (there was only a small blurb on it). I also didn’t love the anecdotal/chatty style. There were a lot of birth affirmations, some of which I did’t agree with.
The positive: lots of recipes, info on tests during pregnancy, exercise, diet, breastfeeding, things to think about for green/clean registries, and answers to random questions like breastfeeding toddlers during pregnancy.

I think it’s a great resource for first time crunchy-minded moms, but a little long for natural birth veterans.

Preparing for Easter – C.S. Lewis excerpts
This wasn’t a bad compilation or sampling of Lewis’s writing, but stuff is taken out of context so is disorienting, and isn’t much flow and except for holy week didn’t feel Easter-related. I wasn’t reading it during Lent (obviously, in January!). I didn’t finish it because of how disorienting the lack of context was, and sometimes the editing was chopped at a place where it seemed like Lewis was saying something he wasn’t in context.

Loneliness – Elisabeth Elliot
I wrote more about this book here. Highly, highly recommended for anyone undergoing any suffering!
Some gems:
“The power of the cross is not exemption from suffering but the very transformation of suffering.”
“Even suffering, through the transforming power of the cross, is a gift, for in this broken world, in our sorrow, He gives us Himself, in our loneliness He comes to meet us.”
This whole chapter, “Death is a New Beginning.”
Acceptance, “ a glad and voluntary YES to the conditions we meet on our journey with Him, because these are the conditions He wants us to share with Him.”

Evidence Not Seen – Darlene Deibler
Missionary Darlene Deibler’s account of her early missions work in Papua New Guinea and her time in a Japanese prison camp.
I sometimes thought that her experience wasn’t as bad as some, but then realized that in large part that was due to her great faith and trust in God, and how clearly He was with her every step of the way. Her circumstances were horrific, but she had such a clear sense of God’s presence that it didn’t come across that way, which is amazing.
I was challenged to pray immediately about little things, continued on with thoughts on suffering from Loneliness.
And a moment the next day that was application of that –
S’s requests and questions seemed endless and I finally prayed about it (long after I had been irritated) and let God know that I was exhausted and it felt like their demands were endless and I Just couldn’t deal with it. Then 2 things:
1, the reminder (from having read it in this book only the day before) that when I can’t is when His grace is shown sufficient and His power demonstrated in my weakness.
2, the rest of our pre-nap time was sweet and fun!
Why do I wait so long to pray?!?

February
You Are What You Love – James K.A. Smith
Smith writes about changing our lives and habits by changing our loves, how “Discipleship is more a matter of hungering and thirsting than of knowing and believing,” and how in order to change we need to create new habits. The biggest way this happens is through the spiritual disciplines (he focuses mostly on corporate worship). That’s a very uneloquent description that doesn’t really do it justice.
I had already been thinking along these lines (see my post on discipline), but Smith’s book helped me grapple with it more, and think through the implications of shaping the habits of the heart in the home, as well as helping me think of spiritual disciplines and church in the light of an opportunity to re-orient my heart towards God and develop habits of worshiping God. He had some very good thoughts on youth ministry and family integration in church.
That said, I do have a few cautions, mostly with how ecumenical he sometimes is. Also, I don’t think he meant this, but the Holy Spirit was generally left out of the picture, giving the impression that “faith is inevitable as long as you implant right liturgy.”
Lots of gems, a few cautions. It has been very influential in the months since I finished it, and I frequently find myself reviewing parts of it, but I can’t recommend it to just anyone.

Women of the Word – Jen Wilkin
A very good introduction to the inductive Bible study method. I realized through my class that I hadn’t really been doing the inductive method, and wanted to read more on it in a way that was a bit simpler than what I had done for class, and this did that perfectly.

Adrenaline and Stress – Archibald Hart
Part of this was required for my class; I read the whole thing. It fit in well with the theme of rest in the last year, and made me realize how stressful some things are for me, even the things I do to “relax,” as well as why some things make me stressed, and some things I can do to decrease stress and adrenaline, while still channeling adrenaline at times.

Biblical Preaching – Haddon Robinson
Another for class, and probably the most helpful for me in understanding the process of studying the Word and then preparing a message from it. Not only was this important for my class, but also has helped me in how I listen to sermons and talk about them afterward.

Preaching that Speaks to Women – Alice Mathews
Also for class. The overall message was good, but it was VERY psych-heavy. Its emphasis was preaching to women as whole persons before God, with unique giftings (as individuals, not as “woman”), meant to be able to KNOW and LEARN and THINK for self. She focused on helping women love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and how certain stereotypes can be a hindrance to that.
Jen Wilkin’s talk “Raising Daughters Beyond Stereotypes” handled a lot of the same content in a way I felt was more biblical and that I had less disagreement with.

The Broken Road – Patrick Leigh Fermor
I needed an eBook for the airplane and the third part of Fermor’s walking trip from Holland to Constantinople sounded perfect. I think the final installment my least favorite, though. It wasn’t as edited, so his partying was talked about more openly, and it wasn’t quite as literature-heavy as the other ones. That made it an easier read, but less rich. His descriptions were still amazing, though, the fruit of not having a camera!

March
Love to Eat, Hate to Eat – Elyse Fitzpatrick
I’ve talked some before about my relationship with food in the last three years not being very good. In all honesty, I was letting food become an idol. This book was so so so good to help with that and I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles to eat healthily, lose weight, has or is helping someone who has an eating disorder, or just wants to have a biblical perspective on food!
I do wish she had talked more about enjoying food as a good gift from God, though.

Mom Enough – Desiring God
I really enjoyed this little collection of articles on motherhood from Desiring God. It was challenging and encouraging at the same time.

The Savage My Kinsman – Elliot
This was a fascinating read, to learn more about Elisabeth Elliot’s time with the Aucas who had murdered her husband. Some thought-provoking parts on different cultures, especially how we view others as more “primitive” yet they have the systems and intelligence they need for their lives just as we have those for ours.

Enjoy Your Prayer Life -Reeves
A little book prayer by Michael Reeves. I found it very helpful and inspiring, mostly in reminding me that prayer is a way of proving our faith in God.

We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled – Wendy Perlman
Tragic and eye-opening. Perlman recorded, translated and transcribed, then organized people’s stories of their lives in Syria in the last 30 years. We hear of the violence, but their voices really showed how the bigger issue is personhood being undermined.

When Helping Hurts – Corbett and Fikkert
I read this alongside We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled, which was a good move because it helped Perlman’s book be a little less depressing to be reading about ways to help alleviate poverty, and lined up with what I was reading from the oppressed and poor about how the issue isn’t really financial, and hand-outs aren’t what will solve the problem.

The first part of the book is spent putting forth a framework for what our goals in alleviating poverty should be as Christians. The second half is focused on applying that framework to things like short-term missions and the homeless.
“Poverty alleviation is the ministry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation.
“Material poverty alleviation is working to reconcile the four foundational relationships so that people can fulfill their callings of glorifying God by working and supporting themselves and their families with the fruit of that work.”

Must-read for all who oversee benevolence in churches, or as a tool to assess who to donate to in missions or local poverty. I found it very well-balanced between addressing physical and spiritual needs. It was eye-opening to read as someone who has always had more than enough, to see how poverty affects more than just what you have physically.
I was hoping for more application on a personal level (what do I as a mom in the car do for the homeless man on the side of the road?), but I suppose they did give that just not in an easy way. It seems the thing to do is find people who are locally helping without hurting and try to connect those homeless with those people – and if those people don’t exists, be a catalyst to get something going.

If I Perish – Kim
I find myself drifting towards more and more biographies recently. I enjoy them and they are challenging to my daily life and faith while not being too heavy for evening or leisure reading. Esther Ahn Kim’s was no exception. It was interesting to read it so soon after Darlene Deibler’s biography, since they were happening at the same time.

skimmed
Word-Centered Women’s Ministry – Furman, Neilsen
I skimmed this since it came up as an eBook available to borrow when I was putting Women of the Word on hold and it looked interesting and pertinent to my class. Definitely one I would refer back to if heavily involved in women’s ministry.

The Lifegiving Home – Sally and Sarah Clarkson
I had planned to go through this a chapter/month as it’s designed to be, but after the first two months decided it probably wasn’t really what I needed right now and so paged through the rest just to make sure.
I still love the Clarksons’ ministry, but am taking a break for a little bit. There is a lot of repetition in Sally’s writings and podcast. Their stuff is also very encouragement-based, which is exactly what I need at times, but I do need to keep it in proportion and make sure I am getting the “meat” of more deep, expositional teaching in my diet as well right now – but Desperate and The Mission of Motherhood were exactly what I needed a year ago, and I HIGHLY recommend them both.

Kids’ Books
Guji Guji
CHristmas Tapestry (Polacco)
Song of the Stars (Lloyd-Jones)
Jungle Book (an illustrated toddler version)
Frog and Toad All Year
Aesop’s Fables
Cecily Mary Barker’s Complete Flower Fairies
The Circus Ship
Winter Trees – Gerber
The Airport Book
Thy Friend, Obadiah – Turkle
Owl Moon (Yolen)
Horton
When the Doorbell Rang
Over and Under the Pond – Messner
Stone Soup – Marcia Brown
Bustle in the Bushes – Andreae
Psalm 23 – Barry Moser
Before and After – Ramstein
On Market Street
Poetry for Young People – Tennyson, Kipling
Miss Maple’s Seeds
Meilo So (illustrator)
Flossie and the Fox (McKissack)
Sven Nordquist

Movies/TV
we have loved watching The Great British Baking Show
Dunkirk
Calvinist
Goodbye Christopher Robin*
Murder on the Orient Express
Ferdinand
Wonder*
Same Kind of Different As Me
*our favorites of this batch

Playing Chipmunk with the Word of God

{a word picture for James 1:22-25, assignment for a class}

Our first daughter ate everything we put in her mouth. She would gobble it up and then beg for more. On the other hand, our second child pockets food away like a chipmunk, holding it in her cheek. She will sit in her high chair, toddle around the house, and beg for stories with a large bulge protruding from one side of her face. In these circumstances, she refuses to chew and swallow until we coax her into it.

In a similar manner, all who hear the Word preached have a “bite” put into their mouths. It is then their choice to act on the Word. Will the listener apply the Word to her life, as a child ingests his food? Through repeated, intentional action, the hearer becomes a doer as the “bite” works its way through our whole person and into our daily habits. This is not a clinical, intellectual consideration of the truth, but deep meditation that reaches to and seeks to change the desires of the heart.

A child that merely holds food in her mouth and does not swallow it does not receive any nutritional value from her meal. In the same way, those who hear the Word may think they will profit from it, but they do not receive the blessing that comes from obedience. Unless a listener becomes an effectual doer, she is only a deluded, forgetful hearer.

March

We spent over half of March in Dubai with my family.
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Ezra and I had a date down to the Souk. Although I’d been before, this was much more of a cultural experience than in the past, and dealing with bartering and different frameworks for shopping was NOT a relaxing date!
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But there were some photography opportunities nonetheless.
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My camera, I’m sure, screamed tourist and caused higher prices, but oh well.
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My favorite “touristy” Dubai thing – my “must-do” beyond people I love (and food!) – is desert air and stars, so we got cheese bread and headed out for a few hours.
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Speaking of people I love, we had a Pi Day Country Dancing mini-Ball with our closest friends.
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Chicken biscuit pot-pie. We also made chocolate hand-pies.

We also went up in the Dubai Frame.
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A neat experience, but not quite the view the Burj Khalifa provides.
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I am really not a dog person, but this gentle canine almost makes me one. He is so sweet with the girls.

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What’s changed in two years? The people who are there, mostly, but also more buildings, more roads, and more traffic.
I’m more aware of worldview differences after having been away for longer and seeing how worldview affects culture.

Thankful:
for all the shwarma, juice, za’atar and cheese bread,
for the desert air, the stars, the sand – all the things that are our “Dubai.” for all the safety and ease of travel
for all the kind people all along our journey
for all the loved ones who fed us, gave us their time, energy, and poured into us in this trip and many years before.
For all we know, this could be our goodbye to Dubai. As Ezra has less flexible leave in school, passports expire, our family grows, friends leave Dubai – it gets harder to go back and there is less reason to go back. This trip felt like closure in many ways. A good closure, but one with a lot of grief as well.

Grief that turns to joy when I think that although I may not see some of these people again on earth, one day we’ll be doing what we’ve only tasted before: enjoying Him whom we talk about so much face-to-face forever, together, with no goodbyes.

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Camel Milk. 🙂 Ellie and I love it, Ezra and S not so much.

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When we arrived back home, Spring was pretty much here. And we were thrilled to have some bulbs flower this year – last year the squirrels ate all the buds.
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But saying “arrived back home” begs the question, Where is home?
I know many of my friends struggle to answer that question just like I do. It was odd traveling to Dubai (home) from Washington (also home, now and our USA home from Dubai), visiting my parents and sister with my husband and children. It felt so right to go there. No adjusting to people or places, just walking in and sitting down, comfortable – both in my parents’ house and with our good friends there. Even if they lived in a different house, it still felt RIGHT.
And then we trekked home, and as we turned onto the road that takes us home, and saw the bay and smelled the air, and thought about our friends from church – it also felt RIGHT, in a way that was a huge relief because of how going back to Japan after visiting Dubai two years ago was extremely difficult (for a billion reasons, for the sake of this post the main thing is that this shows how much closer our little family is now than it was then!).

The more I move and the more I travel, the more I realize
Home is not a place.
Home is my people.

23 March Jesse Tree 3Finished our Jesse Tree ornaments – full post coming later!

24 March planting 3
Planting peas. Ellie wants to do whatever anyone else is doing.

28 March Seattle with Hannah 2
A trip into Seattle to see my friend, and then she and her husband came up for a few days – definitely a highlight of our year so far!
28 March Seattle with Hannah 4

28 March 4
S’s “mountains.”

29 March 1
Making sourdough bread has become so easy and rewarding for me – to take a starter I made myself and add only water, flour, and salt and have it turn into some of the best bread ever with minimal work is amazing.

favorite recipes// red lentil coconut curry (halve the rice!) // “tastes like pizza” (ish) breakfast veggie hash // balanced smoothie bowl // tuscan white bean and lemon soup (added some leftover chicken) // berry breakfast crisp (used arrowroot to thicken instead, added some lemon zest and lemon juice, and served with Greek yogurt) // salami and herb star bread // hot water crust (learned about this on the Great British Baking Show and wanted to try it!) // cheese and bean pie (we put this in our hot water crust) //

best of online//  This is Dubai (song by my sister’s friend about her wedding) // You Move Toward What You Focus On // counseling PPD // Christmas Shoeboxes? // Amy Carmichael’s Secret to Fighting Discouragement // Technology Overload: fighting back (Rebelution) // The Still Small Voice (Keller sermon) // The Truth I Found as a Suddenly Single Mom // purchase the “This is Dubai” song and others, and see my sister’s album artwork here // sewing hacks // The Great Vision of Christian Education // It’s hard to love my foster son // against child missionaries // Northern Flicker (we’ve been trying to identify this bird from his call for months and finally saw him enough to do so!) // the praying parent (Pray FIRST!) // WORLD recommended these two choirs and we really enjoyed good choral hymns from non-Mormon. Acclamation ChoraleOasis Chorale // Idols of a Mother’s Heart // Our Children for Our Joy // Crochet floor Poof //

When All Things are Made New: “When we deal with suffering, we tend to have our gaze completely locked on the present, but the Christian answer to suffering, while making it incumbent upon us to alleviate present suffering as much as we are able, looks beyond the present to the future.”

reading of late// Love to Eat, Hate to Eat (Fitzpatrick) // The Broken Road (Fermor) // Mom Enough (Desiring God) // The Savage My Kinsman (Elliot) // Enjoy Your Prayer Life (Reeves) // We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled (Perlman) // When Helping Hurts // If I Perish (Kim) //

thinking about// will I sacrifice // not just push aside my desires for others but change them // God is kind, my call to be kind and gentle (Ephesians 4:1, 5:2) // Ephesians 5: the best use of my time isn’t every minute micromanaged, but loving others, gently, kindly, humbly putting them before my desires, promoting unity by dying to self //

“Christ was forsaken that you might be cherished.”
“The One who knew nothing but unbroken fellowship
With Holy God
Was wholly Godforsaken
And why?
So the same could never again be said of you.”

The Munchkins// Ellie turned 18 months and loves to copy everything we say and do. S is full of “why” questions, but is also starting to verbalize her own feelings and thoughts more and more.